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Interview: Otherkin on new material, Lil Nas X and their next Newcastle gig

08/08/2019

Otherkin sold out their last Newcastle show in 2018 at former venue Jumpin’ Jacks. This September the band return to the city, performing at Think Tank? Underground with plenty of new material to sink your teeth into. We caught up with frontman Luke Reilly recently ahead of the show and here’s how it went…

On your most recent tracks you seem to use more electronic elements. What inspired this? 

I think it kind of came from a few places. I mean because when we did our first album we’d been playing those songs for quite a while and we had a very specific vision of kind of wanting to make a traditional, basic garage rock album you know just the four of us with our instruments and very little overdubbing or anything. There wasn’t anything on it that wasn’t a guitar on it apart from maybe a piano. So when it came to the second album, we kind of thought maybe why don’t we do something completely different to what we were used to? So I think a big element of that was that we were listening to a lot of music that was different to what we had been listening to. Around the time of the first album we were listening to a lot of Nine Inch Nails or Massive Attack, Kate Bush or loads of French electronic music so our tastes have developed or changed a bit from what we had been listening to. And then myself and one of the guys in the band we started producing a lot of the music ourselves and that gave us a lot of scope to just experiment with different instruments, sample things or use instruments that we’d never been able to really use in the live route before. So I think it was all of that coming together really. 

Your last Newcastle show sold out. What can people catching your next show in the city expect? 

They can expect a lot of new music. We’ll be playing a lot of material on that tour that we haven’t played live before at all. We’ll probably be playing a lot of stuff that hasn’t been released even by that time. I mean we’ll be doing our gigs in September in the UK and we’ll have a lot of our new singles out but there’ll be a lot of stuff that we’ve recorded that won’t have been released by then. It’s just kind of going to be elements of the first album shows where it’s really loud and fast and really energetic then with you know with a lot of the second album there’ll be a bit more variety in the set. Some of the new songs are quite banging tunes [laughs] so the energy won’t drop for too long. Yeah I think that’s what people can expect. 

Tell us what your single ‘On and On’ is about.

Yeah. I mean the song itself is just about this guy we know about who’s a bit of a bad guy I’d say kind of and we know someone who’s personally involved with him in the past too. It kind of seemed like the behaviour he has, I’d say, intractable. I feel like, even though he does these things that a lot of people would prefer that he not do and have told him not to do that he just can’t seem to change his ways. So there’s an element of a kind of an addiction to those kinds of misdeeds or wrongdoings. I kind of planned it out with a kind of fictional story. Well not even a story really ,just a character running into the wrong crowd and just the fact that he’s likely to keep committing those behaviours on and on I suppose. That’s the chorus idea for it and then the song itself it’s just like a crazy, I don’t know, 90s euro-dance meets kind of guitar dance-rock in the verses and then apparently a bit of Oasis as well which I didn’t realise until we put it out and then everyone said I sounded like Liam Gallagher which is kind of cool I suppose. 

If Otherkin could collaborate with any artist who would it be and why? 

If we could collaborate with anybody. Erm, I’d love to work with Damon Alborn from Blur. I’m a huge Blur fan, I’m also a huge Gorillaz fan and I feel like he’s kind of done that aspect of let’s say being in a more traditional guitar band then incorporating synthesisers and other electronic elements and gone down a completely different road altogether. So yeah I think he’d be someone really cool to work with because [you] can transcend being in just a guitar band and being whatever you wanted it to be. So I think that would be cool. 

I’m trying to think who else would be good. Maybe Lil Nas X. We like Lil Nas X a lot [laughs]. We can maybe do a new cowboy EP with him you know. With some synths and guitars and he can just go out front and do his thing. 

What would your song with them be called? 

Ooh god I guess it would depend on what exactly we’d manage to do with them. Hm I guess Lil Nas X called his last song ‘Panini’ so maybe something food themed like, I don’t know, do you guys eat garlic, cheese and chips over there? 

We do yeah! [laughs]

Maybe something like that. We’d have to sit down with Lil Nas X and see what he says. 

One of the songs of your first album is called ‘Bad Advice’ but what’s the best advice you have ever received? 

Best advice I’ve ever received, erm I don’t know. I honestly don’t get given advice from many people or I just don’t remember the advice that I’ve been given. I’m trying to think. Hm… I guess there are certain things. I’ve been told not to bow to people when it comes to writing music and I feel like I’ve been doing that a lot more when it comes to writing our own music. Not necessarily trying to compromise on something if you feel like that initial instinct you have for something is what you trust more let’s say. So yeah, trust your instincts. 

You guys are from Dublin/ Ireland and there’s a lot of exciting acts coming out of there at the minute. Anyone you’d recommend people checking out? 

Hm yeah who am I listening to at the minute that’s good Irish bands. I like Saint Sister a lot, They’re a kind of electronic folk act. They’re great. I also like, there’s a band called Synk who are really good. They’re like a 60s noise-punk band from Dublin who we’ve played a lot of shows with so they’re really good. 

What’s in store for Otherkin for the rest of 2019? 

The rest of 2019 we’re basically doing a few festivals over the summer in the UK and Ireland and then we’re just going to keep on putting out music and then keep writing more music that we’ll be recording very soon for something down the line. Yeah we’re just going to keep writing music, recording and then you know preparing ourselves for the UK tour in September because we’ve got a lot of new songs that we’ve got to rehearse and figure out how we’re gonna a few things [with]. Then yeah the recording is going to be the big thing I think. 

INTERVIEWER: TESSA BURY

Tickets to see Otherkin at Think Tank? on 21st September are flying out so snap yours up quickly. Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard are supporting. 

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